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OCT
13
2016

RESEARCH
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Poll: In public education, Americans want more than academics

By Erin Murphy

Image by Holger Selover-Stephan

Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) recently released the results of their 48th Annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. This report, Why school? Americans speak out on education goals, standards, priorities and fundingidentifies what Americans believe should be the primary goals of public education and what standards, priorities and funding should exist to support these goals.

The findings of the report suggest there is not a consensus on what the primary goal of public education should be. Only 45 percent of adult Americans believe that the main goal of education should be preparing students academically. Meanwhile, alternate views of public education are gaining popularity: 25 percent of Americans believe the goal of public education should be to prepare students for work, and 26 percent believe the goal should be to prepare students for citizenship. Additionally, respondents felt that the development of good work habits was a more important goal for schools than providing factual information.

This shift in the public attitude regarding the role of public education—toward success beyond academics—is reflected by the public’s preference for offering more career-technical or skills-based classes (68 percent) instead of more honors or advanced academic classes (21 percent). Afterschool has a long history of focusing on youth success beyond academics, reflecting and responding to Americans’ expanding desires for public education. Besides providing academic support—such as tutoring, homework help, and academic enrichment—programs are supporting students’ passions, introducing students to careers, and developing their 21st century skills. Because of this, afterschool is great a partner for the public school system in supporting education, growth and student success more broadly

SEP
26
2016

RESEARCH
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Updated interactive dashboard with data on high-poverty communities

By Nikki Yamashiro

Following the release of our latest America After 3PM report, Afterschool in Communities of Concentrated Poverty, which looks at the role of afterschool programs in areas where there is a high concentration of families living below the poverty line, our interactive web dashboard has been updated to feature data on the state of afterschool in these high poverty areas. On the communities of concentrated poverty dashboard page, you can find out what parents in these high poverty areas are looking for in their child’s afterschool program, how long children participate in afterschool programs, and how satisfied parents are with the activities in their child’s afterschool program. The dashboard also includes data on the barriers parents living in communities of concentrated poverty face enrolling their child in an afterschool program.

The primary goal of this dashboard is to create an easy way to navigate through the large amount of data collected through the America After 3PM survey. In addition to finding afterschool-related information on specific populations, such as communities of concentrated poverty and rural communities, you can see what afterschool looks like in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as learn about key subject areas, including STEM and health and wellness.

This latest update is the fifth in a series of updates we have made to the dashboard to make sure that it is able to provide you with as comprehensive a look at afterschool as possible. Take some time to explore all that the dashboard has to offer!

SEP
15
2016

RESEARCH
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New report: Participation in summer learning programs yields positive outcomes

By Erin Murphy

A new report shows that high levels of participation in summer learning programs can provide positive benefits for low-income students’ math and language arts performance and social-emotional skills. Last week, The Wallace Foundation released Learning from Summer: Effects of Voluntary Summer Learning Programs on Low-Income Urban Youththe third and final report analyzing the outcomes of their National Summer Learning Project.

This report, conducted by the RAND Corporation, is part of a six-year study offering the first-ever assessment of the effectiveness of voluntary, no-cost summer learning programs on the academic achievement, social-emotional competencies, and behavior of low-income, urban, elementary students. In fall 2013, third grade students enrolled in one of five urban school districts—Boston, Dallas, Jacksonville (FL), Pittsburgh, or Rochester (NY)—were selected to participate in the study. Half of the students were invited to participate in summer programming while half were not, and data on academic performance, social emotional skills, behavior and attendance was collected on both groups through the end of seventh grade.

Key findings on summer learning programs:

  • Students who were “high-attenders”—those attending a summer program at least 20 days—saw near and long-term positive effects in math assessments throughout the study.
  • High-attenders saw near and long-term positive effects in language arts assessments after the second summer of programming.
  • High-attenders saw positive benefits for their social and emotional skills after the second summer of programming.
  • When programs focused on math or language arts, students saw lasting positive gains in these subjects. Students who received a minimum of 25 hours of math instruction or 34 hours in language arts instruction during the summer outperformed students who did not receive the same level of instruction in the relevant subject in fall assessments. The report also found that the positive effects lasted into the spring after the second summer.
  • Providing students an invitation to attend did not lead to substantial long-term benefits, because of high rates of non-participation and low-attendance rates.
Infographic courtesy of the Wallace Foundation.
AUG
30
2016

RESEARCH
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New report reveals how afterschool aids communities of concentrated poverty

By Nikki Yamashiro

Where you live has direct and indirect impacts on the fundamental resources and opportunities you count on, and which many people may take for granted. Your location affects the quality of schools available to you, your access to healthy and affordable food, and your overall wellbeing and future economic success.

This is why the Afterschool Alliance believed it was critical to examine the role that afterschool programs are playing (or not playing) in communities of concentrated poverty. These are neighborhoods, or groupings of neighborhoods, where there is a high concentration of families living below the poverty line. This is the first time that America After 3PM data has been used to look at high-poverty communities that research has found are struggling when looking at economic, academic and health indicators.

In our new America After 3PM special report, Afterschool in Communities of Concentrated Poverty, we take a closer look at the afterschool program experience of children and families living in communities of concentrated poverty, including participation in afterschool programs, barriers preventing participation, activities and services provided by programs, and satisfaction with programs.

Key findings from the report include:

  • The demand for afterschool school and summer learning programs in communities of concentrated poverty is high. Both participation in and the demand for afterschool and summer learning programs is higher in communities of concentrated poverty compared to the national average. 
    • Close to 1 in 4 children living in communities of concentrated poverty (24 percent) participate in an afterschool program, compared to less than 1 in 5 nationally (18 percent). More than half of children in communities of concentrated poverty not in an afterschool program would be enrolled if one were available (56 percent), compared to the national average of 41 percent.
    • When asked about participation in summer learning programs, 41 percent of parents living in communities of concentrated poverty reported that their child participated in a summer learning program and 66 percent would like their child to take part in a summer learning program, higher than the national average of 33 percent and 51 percent, respectively.
AUG
23
2016

RESEARCH
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New video makes the case for data sharing partnerships

By Nikki Yamashiro

If you have ever wondered what a successful data sharing partnership looks like, or wished that there was a resource available to help you make the case for data partnerships in afterschool, look no further. A new video released by the National League of Cities—in partnership with the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) and the Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA)—showcases the power of data in afterschool programming. This three-minute video, made possible with support from The Wallace Foundation, takes a look at the city of Nashville, TN and highlights the successful data sharing partnership between Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and NAZA, a network of high-quality afterschool programming serving the city’s middle school students.

Adam Yockey, Northeast Zone Director of NAZA, summarizes the value of data sharing partnerships, stating, “I believe that the afterschool providers want to be seen as a partner and a support for what is going on in the school day. If you only get data at the end of the school year, you’ve lost an entire year that you could have been working intentionally with that student. It helps the afterschool providers focus more on what the students actually need instead of just a program that they offer.”

This video is a great example of why partnerships like the one in Nashville are so critical if we are serious about making sure that all students have the supports in place both in and out of school that will set them up for success. If you are interested in learning more about what steps can be taken to promote data sharing among partners, you can take a look at a blog I wrote earlier this summer on four policy priorities released by the DQC outlining how district leaders can take the initiative to make data work for students. 

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learn more about: Evaluations School Improvement
JUL
5
2016

RESEARCH
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5 statistics that inspire optimism in the future of America's youth

By Robert Abare

A new study has found that “Generation Z,” or the cohort of youth born after 1995 that follows millennials, are healthier and have higher rates of high school completion, despite significant challenges posed by the economy and education costs. The 2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, compares national and state data on youth and their well-being collected between 2008 and 2014.

The KIDS COUNT Data Book provides substantial reasons to be optimistic about the future of Generation Z and all of America’s youth, especially when considering youth’s strides in teenage pregnancy, high school graduation and their persistence despite an unfavorable economic environment.

Here are five reasons to be optimistic about (and proud of) America’s youth:

  1. The percentage of teens not graduating high school on time has dropped 28 percent nationwide.
  2. The percentage of teens abusing drugs and alcohol has dropped 38 percent nationwide.
  3. The percentage of teens not graduating high school on time has dropped 28 percent nationwide.
  4. The rate of teenage pregnancy has decreased 40 percent nationwide.
  5. Youth are making strides despite strong economic headwinds. Currently, 22 percent of children live in poverty—the same rate as 2013.

“This generation of teenagers and young adults are coming of age in in the wake of the worst economic climate in nearly 80 years, and yet they are achieving key milestones that are critical for future success,” said Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

“With more young people making smarter decisions, we must fulfill our part of the bargain..."

McCarthy noted the importance of continued investments in systems that support and protect youth, like afterschool programs. “With more young people making smarter decisions, we must fulfill our part of the bargain, by providing them with the educational and economic opportunity that youth deserve,” he said. “We urge candidates in state and national campaigns to describe in depth their proposals to help these determined young people realize their full potential.”

The KIDS COUNT Data Book also offers a number of recommendations to policy makers as to how to best support America’s youth, based on the core values of opportunity, responsibility and security.

JUN
30
2016

RESEARCH
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New poll: Americans want to invest in youth and afterschool

By Erik Peterson

With election day just four months away, most adults say they are more likely to vote for a candidate committed to investing in effective child and youth well-being policies, according to a new national poll conducted by Hart Research on behalf of the Children’s Leadership Council. More than three in five adults—representing every age, race, income and education level across the country—want the next president and Congress to invest more federal funds in afterschool, child nutrition, child health and education programs for children, according to the poll findings.

By overwhelming margins, the poll found that Americans say the nation’s children would be better off if government did more to support parents and families, and that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who would commit to policies that advance children’s well-being. In particular, the poll found the highest support among millennials, regardless of party.

Here are the specifics of Americans' widespread support for investing in our future

  • 70 percent of Americans believe children would be better off if government did more to support parents and families.
  • 63 percent of Americans favor increasing funding for programs and services to meet children’s needs.
  • A majority of Americans say they are more likely to support someone who commits to making child well-being policies a priority, especially in the areas of: child abuse and family violence (75 percent); child poverty and hunger (71 percent); child health care coverage (67 percent); college affordability (66 percent), and child care and early education (58 percent).

With regard to afterschool programs, the poll echoed previous election year polls on the value that the public places on afterschool programs:

  • 63 percent of parents said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who commits to making expanding afterschool programs and summer learning opportunities priorities if elected.
  • 67 percent of mothers said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who commits to making expanding afterschool programs and summer learning opportunities priorities if elected.
  • 67 percent of millennials said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who commits to making expanding afterschool programs and summer learning opportunities priorities if elected.
  • 77 percent of African Americans said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who commits to making expanding afterschool programs and summer learning opportunities priorities if elected.

The Children’s Leadership Council, a coalition of nearly 60 of the nation’s leading child and youth advocacy organizations, including the Afterschool Alliance, commissioned Hart Research Associates to conduct the poll. The poll used telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of over 2,000 Americans age 18 and older across the country, including 595 parents of children under age 18. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percent.

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learn more about: Advocacy Congress Election Federal Funding
JUN
9
2016

RESEARCH
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New civil rights data reveal nearly 1 in 5 high schoolers are chronically absent

By Jen Rinehart

This week, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights released “A First Look” from the 2013-2014 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), which shows that students of color, students whose first language is not English and students with disabilities are not getting the same opportunities to learn as their counterparts who are white, whose first language is English or who do not have disabilities.

The data are from a survey of all public schools and school districts in the United States. The CRDC measures student access to courses, programs, instructional and other staff, and resources—as well as school climate factors, such as student discipline and bullying and harassment—that impact education equity and opportunity for students. 

For the first time, CRDC also looks at chronic student absenteeism, and finds that more than 6.5 million students (13 percent) missed 15 or more days of school (nearly a month of school) during the 2013-14 academic year. The chronic absence data reveal differing rates of chronic absenteeism among subgroups of students:  

  • Within the high school group, chronic absence rates are 26 percent for American Indian or Alaska Native students, 22 percent for African American students, 21 percent for Multiracial, 25 percent for Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander students and 20 percent for Latino students compared to 18 percent overall.
  • Among elementary students, American Indian or Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander students are twice as likely to be chronically absent as white elementary school students.
  • Children with disabilities are more likely to be chronically absent in both elementary and high school.